Satisfactory Academic Progress

In order to comply with federal regulations, Westfield State University has developed guidelines for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Recipients of financial assistance must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) towards their degree in order to maintain or re-establish eligibility to receive financial aid.


Federal regulations require that Westfield State University develop a plan to measure a student's academic progress.  Schools are required to measure Satisfactory Academic Progress by evaluating both qualitative (Grade Point Average) and quantitative (attempted credit hours) measures.  The SAP standards are cumulative and include all periods of a student’s enrollment (including periods in which a student did not receive financial aid).  The following standards apply to students receiving financial aid at Westfield State.

Qualitative Measures

Undergraduate students must maintain the appropriate cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) based on the number of credits attempted:

Credit Hours Attempted                                             Cumulative GPA

0-23                                                                             1.75

24 and more                                                                2.00

Graduate students must maintain a minimum GPA as required by their department’s policy.  No graduate student may have a GPA below 2.0.

Quantitative Measures

All students (full-time, part-time, and graduate) must make SAP toward a degree by successfully completing at least 67% of all credits attempted toward their degree program.

  • Courses with grades of W (withdrawn), Incomplete (I), and F (Failure) are counted as credits attempted, but not successfully completed
  • Courses dropped during the add/drop period do not count as credits attempted
  • Transfer credits accepted toward the degree program do not count towards the GPA, but are counted as credits attempted
  • Repeated courses are counted in both the qualitative and quantitative calculations. Financial aid awarded may only be awarded once for a repeated course in which a passing grade was previously earned. 
  • Courses taken as Pass/Fail count toward credits attempted, but do not count in the GPA

Maximum Timeframe

Students must progress through their academic program in a timely manner.  The maximum time frame to complete a degree cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the program. For example, if the published length of an academic program is 120 credit hours, the maximum time frame in which to complete the program could not exceed 180 attempted credit hours (120 x 1.5).

Loss of Financial Aid Eligibility 

SAP evaluations take place at the end of each semester: Fall, Spring, and Summer. 

For students who do not meet the SAP standard; 

If it is the first semester that the student is not meeting the SAP standard, they will receive a warning. The student will be eligible for financial aid for their next enrolled semester. 

If the student has already had one semester at a SAP warning status, the student will be ineligible for financial aid. 

Notification Process

Students who fail to meet this requirement at the end of each semester will be notified by the Financial Aid Office via email. Students will be ineligible for financial aid for the following enrolled semester.  The first semester a student does not meet the SAP requirements, the student will be placed on a SAP warning status and will remain eligible for financial aid for the following enrolled semester. 

Appeal Process

Students who are identified as not making SAP may appeal their status to the Financial Aid Office.  Students must demonstrate they had extenuating circumstances, beyond the normal demands of student life, during the course of the year that led them to not making SAP.  The appeal must include the following elements:

  1. A narrative of the circumstances the student faced
  2. Why the student failed to make Satisfactory Academic Progress
  3. What has changed that will allow the student to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation.

Repeat SAP appeals must site a different and distinct extenuating circumstance beyond the circumstances of a previous appeal. 

Appeals regarding SAP and financial aid eligibility may be submitted by completing the online SAP Appeal form.

If the appeal is approved, the student may be placed on SAP probation or a SAP academic plan for one semester and will be awarded financial aid. The financial aid award will be made on a funds available basis. Before the funds are awarded, students may be required to work with the Academic Advising Office to develop a plan for overcoming whatever is preventing the student from progressing academically.

The Financial Aid Office will evaluate the student’s academic record to determine if the student has made Satisfactory Academic Progress at the end of each semester.  Students must have made SAP or have an approved SAP academic plan in place, in order to receive financial aid in subsequent terms.

Regaining Eligibility

A student who has lost their eligibility may regain the ability to earn financial aid once they have raised their GPA to meet the standard set based on their credits attempted, or by earning credits that will allow the student to re-establish their ability to complete their program within the maximum timeframe allowed. 

A student can also regain eligibility through a successful SAP appeal. 

Appeal Form

To submit an appeal for your Satisfactory Academic Progress standing, please click below.

To see the SAP policy in a more expanded form, click here.